Don Cobb
FATHERS: About your daughters...
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By Don Cobb
July 19, 2010

Fathers are the main reason I have such incredible job security. Drug and alcohol treatment centers all across the country can tip their hats and send thank you cards to American fathers everywhere. Well, to at least half of the fathers in our nation, anyway. You see, working with recovering addicts and alcoholics for nearly 20 years, I've discovered several common threads. One (unrelated to the subject of this article) is that virtually all addicts and alcoholics are above average intelligence. I know, I know, their behavior doesn't bear that out when they are drinking or using dope. But truly one of the reasons men and women get so self-centered is because they discover that they are more intelligent than most people around them. Therefore, they tend to rely on their own understanding rather than seeking counsel from others. I'll get more into how self-centeredness manifests in those who suffer from addiction, and for now let's talk about another major common thread which addicts share: Dad issues.

Divorce typically removes the father from the home. Children most often stay with Mom, and Dad becomes a weekend visitor, if that. Due to Mom's own desperate need for a father's love, she will commonly seek someone who will suffice to fill the hole in her heart left by her own father. So due to the divorce, Dad abandons his children in order to escape from his wife, Mom starts focusing on finding another man to fill the hole which can only be filled by her Father, and the children have now lost both Dad and Mom thanks to the divorce. Even when Mom finds what she considers a suitable man to take Dad's place, the children are still abandoned while Mom gets obsessed with her new "love" (really just desperation- masked lust or the relief achieved because "somebody loves me"). A new battle ensues as children and "new Dad" fight for first position in their mom's heart. It's bad enough that Dad is gone, and Mom, if she is intelligent and intuitive and compassionate, should recognize that she now needs to make up for the loss of Dad's love in their house. Logically, Mom needs to bring more love to the table now in order to insure that her children get the love they need in order to feel secure and cared for, but the same selfishness which contributed to creating the divorce in the first place continues to destroy her childrens' lives even further as the kids pick up the tab for Mom's inability to manage a healthy relationship. Adding some stranger to the family does not solve the problem.

Divorce is truly a sign of emotional immaturity. Be it due to initially mistaking lust or acceptance for 'falling in love' , or to being unwilling to have the integrity to keep one's commitments (marriage), it is emotional immaturity that is at the root of America's high divorce rate. That two adults can't figure out how to get along or how to fall back in love says volumes about both parents. That isn't the beginning and the end, however, of this column. Oh no, it's just the tip of the iceberg.

That the divorce rate hovers around 50% for both religious and nonreligious communities makes some very obvious points which I am grateful for the opportunity to bring to your attention here today. Because American Christianity has been attacked, watered down and diluted almost completely in this day and age, it's unlikely that even faithful church-goers are really walking the walk Jesus encourages us to walk. And, interestingly, knowing Jesus simply isn't enough to save a marriage. Knowing anyone isn't enough to change a person's life. It is the proactive interaction in a relationship which brings about the wisdom, knowledge, and fruit which love produces, be it friendship, familial or romantic love.

So now about you, Dad: You chose to abandon your children to be raised by a woman you refuse to live with. Do you understand what I just said? You chose to abandon your own children, leaving them to be raised by a woman that you, yourself do not want in your own life any longer. Oh, you're pretty darned sure that you'll be visiting your children on weekends, if Mom will let you, and besides, you weren't that active in their lives anyway. So your sons get to be raised by Mom, influenced most in their lives by someone you refuse to spend time with or even seek help in order to resolve issues in your relationship with her, and your boys get to be raised by a girl. Great. Or is it?

And how about your daughters? Our daughters need their father's love probably more than you realized when you agreed to that divorce or, worse yet, filed papers in order to abandon your children and resign them to live with this woman you yourself won't live with. Even when Dad is in the home, if he isn't actively participating in his little girl's life, showing up at all of her special events, birthday parties, games (if she plays sports), dance rehearsal and recitals, etc., then Dad has effectively already abandoned his daughter, despite living under the same roof with her. She needs to know Dad loves her. It is a special love that Mom can't give, this love between a father and his daughter. It is a unique love which will affect this girl for the rest of her life, this Father's love.

Deny her that relationship and she will oftentimes set out in her teen years to fill that place in her heart as best she can, unconsciously and desperately seeking the unique love that only a father can give her. In that desperate quest, however, daughters commonly begin seeking acceptance and some semblance of love by giving their bodies and their virginity to boys they hardly know. They don't realize why they are making themselves sex toys for boys at school, and if the boy claims to love them, it just seems right to get in bed and give themselves completely physically speaking to boys oftentimes not old enough to be employed. Not only are the boys she invites into her life unemployable, but they are oftentimes not the least bit interested in, nor are they capable of the kind of love your daughter is really seeking. They just want to enjoy your daughter's body. Because you've abandoned your daughter when you abandoned your marriage, you've now left your little girl to the mercy of boys who likely just want to use her for sex.

These aren't necessarily bad boys. These boys have got issues of their own, having been raised in dysfunctional America, much like your little girl. That, and the fact that nature tends to call them into manhood in ways that our society has translated into "Go get laid."

So many girls take this path, and have done so ever since Moms went to work, by the way (in the 1960s), that it actually seems normal now for girls to become the sex objects of boys in Jr. High and High School, with parents defending their kids' rights to act out sexually and even approving of condom machines in the bathrooms. You see, your ex-wife isn't capable of protecting your daughter from the boys who wish to prey on your daughter. Your ex-wife is likely to consider it normal for your daughter to act out sexually through her teens, even if she becomes a whore at school. It's normal to her, and with good reason: She probably didn't have a relationship with her dad, either. She went through school looking for love in all the wrong places too. It's "normal" to your ex-wife that your daughter is being used for sex by boys who couldn't care less about your daughter's feelings or her future.

It's called a "generational curse." Liberals and Progressives have surrendered to this sad behavior, and they are the parents who are demanding that condom machines be put into Jr. High bathrooms, so their sons don't get your daughter pregnant. They are the parents who want sex education taught to kindergartners and want gradeschoolers to be taught that homosexuality is "normal" when it's clearly not. Do you understand the dynamic of what you've created now, Dad? By abandoning your wife and family, you've abandoned your children. You've left them unprotected by your love and your presence, and you've left them to the mercy if there is any, and usually there is not of the boys who grow to become sexual predators because oh, that's right, there's more they were abandoned either physically or emotionally by their Dads and they are unconsciously seeking love in all the wrong places, too. Love, of course, which can only be provided by you: Dad.

So let's review: By refusing to learn how to love your wife, and refusing to make a study of her like God's word tells us to, you abandon the woman you've committed your life to in front of God and all your friends, and you abandon your children to be raised and/or at least affected by whatever jerk your 'unfit' wife is going to bring into their home. You assign your daughter to a life with a hole in her heart that you were supposed to fill, and you deny her the experience of what it's like to have a father who loves her more than anyone else on the planet will ever be able to love her.

Your sons, as well, get to be raised by a woman who doesn't understand what it is to be a man, so you've assigned them a lifetime of dysfunctional relationships with women as they try to sort out for themselves what it is to actually be a man. Oh, and the woman you've forced them to be raised by is the same woman you refuse to live with. Interesting.

Seem fair? Does that seem like the actions of a man of integrity who cares about his children? Have your children earned what you've forced on them, really? But hey, you've got your FREEDOM, right? You can resume your quest for love in all the wrong places, picking up (predator) new unsuspecting women who have no idea that you're simply engaged in that generational curse left to you by your father, not realizing that you really don't love them at all but just want to get them in bed so you can use their bodies and pretend you matter because someone is willing to share themselves with you sexually.

But if it was really about love, this life of yours, Dad, wouldn't you have stayed in the home with your children to raise them and protect them, humbling yourself in whatever way you needed to so that your daughters and your sons had the benefit of a loving Dad in their home and in their lives who cared so much about them, and who loved them so much that no sacrifice was too great to make on their behalf? If this was about being a stand-up man, a man of integrity, wouldn't you have invested in however many counselors or couples retreats it might have taken in order for you and your (now ex) wife to raise your family together, to raise your children together, to grow closer as a couple and to learn how to overcome your differences and abandon your individual selfishness? I mean, so that your children could see what a man of integrity looks like up close, and what a great father looks like up close, so that your sons could become like you because they will and so your daughters could seek out a young man of integrity to make her husband one day?

Yeah, I'm sure it was so difficult to get along with "her." I know how "she" was. No, really. I know. I've been there and done that too, Dad. I'm not speaking from a place of judgment right now, although it might seem that way to you as you read, if you're even still reading what I've written here. Yes, I know "she" was difficult and unreasonable and hard to live with and impossible at times. I know that. I know that because I've been those things too. All of them. And guess what...

So have you. But you didn't have to abandon your little girl just because you didn't have the courage to walk through some problems in your marriage. Your little girl shouldn't have had to pick up the tab for your "freedom" from the commitment you made on your wedding day to your wife, to God and in front of your friends. She is picking up the tab, however. She's likely going to turn out exactly like your ex-wife, too, in large part because you aren't there every morning and every night to raise her. Your ex-wife did that. Your ex that was so impossible stood in there with your sons and daughters, and raised them as best they could, regardless if you paid your child support or showed up on weekends or ever other weekend to put in some token time with them. So your daughter, being raised by a woman who was abandoned by her dad and now her husband, is in someone else's hands now, not yours.

Not only that, but it's likely that I might get to meet your daughter or your son one day. You see, I work in drug treatment. Long-term, residential drug treatment where the most broken kids who have grown into broken adults show up every day, asking for help, and love, and a chance to start a new life, because the life they were dealt didn't meet their needs. With anger issues, abandonment issues, self-esteem issues, sexual issues, drug problems, alcoholism, with children of their own who have been taken away by the system which doesn't know how to fix these problems, your kids end up at my facility.

The good news? My staff and I love them like you didn't. We point them to another Father who loves them more than life itself. We teach them a new way to live, in spite of their brokenness and their issues with men and issues with women and their anger and resentment and their court records and their inability to even express their deep sadness and regret about their relationship or lack of relationship with Dad. We teach them how to find the words in order to express themselves, so that they can hear themselves say it, and so the nightmare can become real and they can cry the tears that it takes to resolve a life with or without you, Dad. Yes, the good news is that we love them like our Heavenly Father loves them...because we were them, too, at one time. We lived much of what they lived. We got to learn about our Father who art in Heaven, who loves us as much as He loves your children. And we got to experience His love and healing which only He can facilitate.

And we get to introduce your children to Him, too, to our Father, which art in Heaven. And that is the most amazing love any of us have ever experienced. But how much more might we all have enjoyed His love if we didn't have to meet Him in all of our brokenness, but instead perhaps because our own Earthly father might have introduced us to Him so that we might have experienced all of the love which our Creator intended for us in the first place?

Are you considering divorce right now? Please, don't. It's not that I don't want to meet your son or daughter. I do. I'm blessed by every person who makes it us who doesn't OD or end up in prison for a long, long time. But before you file those divorce papers, ask yourself if this is how you want your story to go. Do you want to leave your children behind, because that's what you will do if you divorce your wife, leave them behind, become a part-time dad, subject them to whomever your wife might meet and bring home, and turn them loose at school to become either a predator or prey for other broken kids like them.

Your story doesn't have to go like that. It really doesn't. If you need help, email me or call someone. Call a marriage and family counselor and take the time to interview them. If they don't seem right, call and interview another, and another, until you find someone that you believe can help you stay in your marriage. The truth is that you're just going to take all your problems into the next relationship, should you decide to divorce now. It will be like Groundhog's Day, only different people, but the same problems. It doesn't have to go that way, this story of yours called Life.

Be a man. Get help. Do it for your children if you aren't willing to do it for yourself. But do it. Learn how to be a good husband and stop worrying about what a bad wife she is. When you learn to become a good husband, a man of integrity, a good father and provider and partner, then she will become a good wife.

I guarantee it.

© Don Cobb

 

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Don Cobb

Don Cobb, RAS is an addiction recovery professional and serves as Executive Director for North Bay Recovery Services in Sonoma County, CA. Don recently published a book entitled 12 Steps: NOT For Dummies... (more)

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